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UK News

Northern Ireland church bells ring out in honour of NHS nurse who died from Covid-19

by Premier Journalist

The bells at a Northern Irish church have rung out in remembrance of a local nurse who died after contracting coronavirus. 

Pat McManus, 60, lived and worked in England but was originally from the County Tyrone town. 

On Sunday, Strabane's Church of the Immaculate Conception rang its bells at 15:00 to remember its former parishioner. Many other churches joined in at the same time. His niece Aileen Mullen told the BBC that it was "a beautiful thing to do to remember Pat." 

Ms Mullen said that the week had been "just been so surreal," following her uncle's death.

She added: "The response of the Strabane community has been so good. From many messages of support to putting up things on social media. They've really been so kind in all their messages.

"I just want to thank everyone who has been so very kind."

The church's parish priest said: "It's very fitting that we gather here today to reflect on the life of service that Pat gave to the NHS over 40 years.

"He had a reputation for always helping others and was kind and considerate."

The Church of Ireland rector at Christ Church, Strabane, Rev John White, also paid his respects, saying that it was important for different denominations to honour Mr McManus' life and sacrifice.

"As it has often been said, this disease makes no distinction," he said.

"This is a way we can identify with those in the front-line, with those in the NHS, all of the staff in hospitals and those in nursing homes.

"It isn't much, but it is one way we can show that we are with them."

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) said that Mr McManus' "big, Irish personality will be sorely missed" by friends and colleagues.

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of UHNM, added: "He was a loveable character and brought kindness and compassion to all his patients which was acknowledged by the number of compliments and thank you messages he received.

"He was an exceptional leader and took staff and students under his wing."

Mr McManus, who worked at a hospital in Staffordshire, is survived by his partner Lena, three sons and five grandchildren.

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